chapter  12
15 Pages

Interdependent Goals and Relationship Conict

I n close relationships, partners’ outcomes are mutually dependent. This exten-sive everyday interdependence is what brings much of what people desire from relationships (e.g., intimacy, understanding, support, and stability) but is also what brings much of what people fear (e.g., hurt, pain, obstruction, and strife; see Chapters 3, 11, 13, and 14 in this volume). From its very inception, Interdependence Theory has explicitly connected interdependence and the likely occurrence of interpersonal conict (Braiker & Kelley, 1979; Kelley & Thibaut, 1978), noting that with greater interdependence comes greater opportunities for partners to both facilitate and obstruct each other’s goals. Because goal obstruction is a common trigger of conict and aggression (see Chapter 10 in this volume), the greater opportunities for obstruction that accompany interdependence can in turn generate more occurrences of strife in relationships.